Up Against The Wall Of Sound: 35 Imitations That Stroked Or Deflated Phil Spector’s Ego

I actually think The Wall of Sound as created by Phil Spector is one of the most overrated music trends of the 1960’s. Not only did it borrow heavily from trends already happening in the sophistication blend of 1960’s “Rock & Roll” and popular music, it relied very heavily on the aesthetics of the musicians, arrangers and sound engineers Spector employed. This isn’t even getting into the cruel and unusual treatment he threw at his various stars. It’s no wonder truly Harvey Phillip Spector was truly, if you look at his reign of determining trends in Pop music was only a scant 3 years from the middle of 1962 through Early 1965. That’s being remarkably generous too.

ronettes-2013He did however raise the bar for production values and creativity for a lot of popular musicians, producers and arrangers. No doubt Motown’s investment in an 8 track recording machine was to add multiple layers to the sounds coming out of Studio One by 1964. Burt Bacharach, Carole King and a score of people occupying the Brill Building felt a decided push to be even more meticulous and ornate with their productions. Brian Wilson’s admiration for what Spector accomplished in his own backyard definitely can be seen in Pet Sounds.

Here I’ve gathered 35 tracks that show either deliberate attempts at copying the latest Ronettes, Crystals or Righteous Brothers record, or integrating elements of these auditory building blocks into prominent other trends. You’ll note that a fair share of what we consider “Wall Of Sound” went into what we’d consider middle of the road Soul/Pop by 1965 (Notably, Barbara Lewis’s last Top 20 Pop Hit, “Make Me Your Baby” is a prime example). What Phil Spector really gave us, is the modern Power Ballad.

Whoa oh-oh how I hope you enjoy.

1) The Honey Birds – Ain’t That Just Like A Boy
2) The Murmaids – Don’t Forget
3) Maureen Gray – Goodbye Baby
4) Johnny Caswell – My Girl
5) Diane Renay – I Had A Dream
6) The Exciters – I’m Gonna Get Him Someday
7) The Clouds – My Tears Will Go Away
8) The Avons – Tonight Kiss Your Baby Goodbye
9) Jimmy Clanton – Everything I Touch Turns To Tears
10) Lynn Long – Don’t Let Me Down
11) The Temptations – Last One Out Is Broken Hearted
12) Kiki Dee – Stop And Think
13) The Contessas – This Is Where I Came In
14) Jerry Ganey – Just A Fool
15) Nino Tempo & April Stevens – All Strung Out
16) Walker Brothers – Love Her
17) Brenda Holloway – You Need Me
18) Ray Paige – Don’t Stop Now
19) Margie Mills – You Know I’m Around
20) The Bishops – They Can’t Make Me Stop Loving You
21) Jeanie Fortune – Angry Eyes
22) Carol Kay – That’s When It Hurts
23) Patti & The Emblems – I’ll Cry Later
24) The Spinners – Truly Yours
25) Timi Yuro – Teardrops ‘Til Dawn
26) Ruby & The Romantics – Does He Really Care For Me?
27) Big Dee Irwin – You Satisfy My Needs
28) Tony Bruno – The Grass Will Sing For You
29) Sandra Lynn – Where Would I Be?
30) Vicki Hill – Bachelors Do Get Lonely
31) Freddie Hughes – He’s No Good
32) Kim Weston – I’ll Never See My Love Again
33) Kenny Carter – I’ve Got To Find Her
34) Dusty Springfield – I Will Come To You
35) The Four Tops – Wonderful Baby
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